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Pair Break into Old Joliet Prison to Scavenge for Copper, Police Say

Officers noticed one of the suspects near a prison fence and found he was pushing a cartload of stolen metal, Cmdr. Al Roechner said.

Two men brazenly hauling away copper from the old Joliet Correctional Center were nabbed Monday afternoon when Joliet police just happened to spot them as they drove by, Joliet Cmdr. Al Roechner said.

Shaun Wesley Matheny, 30, and Dawson Abbitt, 19, both of Lockport, are accused of breaking into the closed 1127 Collins St. prison sometime prior to being discovered at 2:50 p.m. and helping themselves to sheets of copper they planned to sell, Roechner said.

Police officers noticed Abbitt along a prison fence while doing a routine patrol down Collins Street and stopped to see what he was doing, Roechner said. They found him pushing a cart containing sections of cut copper plates through a fence opening, he said.

The pair admitted they'd had been inside the prison -- made famous in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers" -- several times and sold the metal they found to Berlinsky Scrap Corp. in Joliet, Roechner said.

Both were charged with burglary and are being held in the Will County jail -- Matheny in lieu of $10,000 bond and Abbitt in lieu of $5,000 bond.

According to jail records, which are incomplete, Matheny has several previous arrests under his belt, including one on a robbery charge in August 2009 and two for felony theft in May 2009 and in February 2008.

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Muha February 20, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Anonymous, why are you constantly saying negative things about the police?
Joliet Girl February 20, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Why are the jail records incomplete????
Karen Sorensen February 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Because they don't include all of the arrests someone might have on the jail booking list given to the media, and we don't know the disposition of the cases.
Mechelle February 21, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I bet they get more time than Mr and Mrs Jessie Jackson.....
Mike H February 22, 2013 at 12:12 AM
@Muha, i've been reading the comments by anonymous. He's a complete loon. I think last week someone called him a "rebel without a clue". He's the typical white trailer trash unemployed GED loser. He has to blame everyone but himself for the fact he's failed at life. I'm sure he thinks the gov't is tapping his phones and spying on him

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